CNN Journalist Working on MH17 Coverage Abducted by Pro-Russian Separatists in Ukraine

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 25, 2014 12:52 PM EST

A CNN journalist working in Ukraine was abducted by pro-Russian rebels. It has been more than a couple of days since he is in detention.

REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard as monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and members of a Malaysian air crash investigation team inspect the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 22, 2014. A train carrying the remains of many of the 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived in a Ukrainian government-held city on Tuesday on the first leg of their final journey home to be reclaimed by their families.

Armed separatists Donetsk People's Republic, the self-declared territory, got hold of Anton Skiba in Donetsk outside a hotel after he had worked only for a day with the U.S. news network. He was reportedly a part of the team which was covering the news of the crashed Malaysian Airline flight MH17.

The news team was returning to the hotel when the abduction took place. Skiba was accused of declaring rewards for killing DNR officials on his Facebook page. DNR official Alexandr Kalyussky later told CNN that Skiba had been arrested for falsified personal information on his ID card.  

 He worked with the television channel of the company. Even though CNN tried to free Skiba from the detention, it has not been successful yet. According to the news company, it even tried contacting the office Alexander Borodai, the self-declared Prime Minister of the territory.

CNN did not reveal the news of Skiba's detention for two days as it was trying to secure his freedom without informing about it to the world. However, it is now asking the rebels publicly for the release of its employee. Skiba was abducted on Tuesday, July 22, and it has not been possible to contact him any way so far. Skiba works for CNN as a local expert who, as a journalist, is knowledgeable of the region to get stories and translate those for his foreign counterparts.

Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, condemned the detention of Skiba who was one of several other journalists who had been abducted by pro-Russian separatists in the region. Skiba, who also worked for a Moscow-based magazine, did not resist the arrest while armed men took him inside a car. Kalyussky, the self-declared deputy prime minister, seized the mobile phone of Jeff Kehl. The CNN cameraman apparently tried recording the arrest.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev / )
Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard as monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and members of a Malaysian air crash investigation team inspect the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 22, 2014. A train carrying the remains of many of the 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived in a Ukrainian government-held city on Tuesday on the first leg of their final journey home to be reclaimed by their families.
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